Shopping centres wishing to become retail destinations need to capitalise on surrounding land, says intu.
Visitors to retail destinations are demanding more reasons to visit – and that means having everything from food and fashion, to leisure facilities and living spaces all in one place.
Many property companies have been looking to the land around their centres to ensure they have fully capitalised on the potential.
This is part of a strategic shift towards diversity of uses in retail-led development, whereby developers can increase the importance of their centre to the local area.
“By offering a hub for a variety of activities, and placing it at the heart of their communities, they are creating destinations that appeal to a broader audience and larger catchment”
By offering a hub for a variety of activities, and placing it at the heart of their communities, they are creating destinations that appeal to a broader audience and larger catchment.
This trend is accelerating, and while there are a whole host of options, the initial focus should be on residential, hotels and flexible working spaces, creating a captive audience for existing retail locations.
Providing something for everyone can have a knock-on impact – having a community living on the doorstep will increase spend in the centre.
Other less tangible but equally important benefits include an increased vibrancy and relevancy of the local area as a new destination.
The transformation of centres has always been a continuous process, but the speed of change is increasing. The best locations will continue to deliver theatre and excellent service, maximising footfall and dwell time for brands.
How intu is putting this into practice
With only around 50% of the surface area of intu’s out-of-town estate currently developed, there’s a lot of potential to be capitalised on and space to be leveraged.
“The long-term vision is to create a vibrant new community right on the doorstep of the centre, ensuring residents can benefit from everything it has to offer”
One of the first plans to be brought forward is a development of more than 1,000 new homes for the private rented sector, new public spaces, transport connections, and lifestyle and leisure facilities at the south end of intu Lakeside in Essex.
The long-term vision is to create a vibrant new community right on the doorstep of the centre, ensuring residents can benefit from everything it has to offer.
While the plans for the residential scheme at intu Lakeside are still at a very early stage, the principles behind it are well established: a modern centre needs to be diverse, multi-faceted and make the maximum use of the space around it, if it’s going to keep visitors coming back.
Half of the UK population visits an intu shopping centre every year, so that’s a huge volume of repeat visits to play for.
Martin Breeden is development director at intu. He joined intu in 2002 and was appointed group development director and a member of the Executive Committee in 2016. In his role, Martin has direct responsibility for intu’s development programme across the UK and Spain.
Martin has worked on almost all of intu’s assets at various times, and has more than 25 years of experience in the retail property industry. Previous roles include working for MEPC and Jones Lang LaSalle, the latter including four years in Spain. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a member of Revo’s advisory panel.
Read more about intu’s plans here.